Oprah’s net worth tops $2.8 billion, according to Investopedia. Oprah became one of the most successful women through a series of savvy business deals. Here are some of the ways Oprah became rich.
Oprah’s net worth grew by owning her talk show
Oprah’s net worth surged because she owned her show outright. Winfrey’s half-hour show started in 1984. The show was so successful, it was extended to an hour. Oprah’s heartfelt and informative talk show launched in 1986 in Chicago.
Launching her career in Chicago instead of New York could have helped Oprah as well. Starting her business in a less-populated city helped her stand out as a talk show host, too. In Chicago, she bought real estate around the West Loop neighborhood to house her production company. Ina Pinkney, a neighbor of Harpo Studios, told NPR that Oprah made Chicago her home early.
“She began to buy up some buildings right around the neighborhood and she began to stake a claim,” said Pinkney.
Most of her competitors’ shows through big production companies. However, Oprah syndicated her own show through her own Harpo Productions. The late film critic Roger Ebert urged Oprah to syndicate her show after pointing out how profitable it could be.
“With simple, high-school-level math, you can now figure out how much Oprah Winfrey makes in a year for her show”, wrote Ebert in 2005. “Step 1: Estimate how much I made in a year, 20 years ago. Step 2: Carry out the other multiplications described above. Step 3: Times 20.”
After Winfrey syndicated her show, after the first two years, she made $115 million in sales. According to Forbes, Winfrey made $30 million after the first two years of her show. By the first decade of her show in 1995, Oprah’s net worth grew to $340 million.
Oprah’s riches skyrocket after the launch of magazine
Like fellow billionaire Mark Cuban, Oprah diversified her business ventures to increase her wealth. Oprah launched O Magazine in 2000 and the magazine has been a great success. The magazine has 2.4 million subscribers and a large following online as well. Partnerships with stores like Talbot’s to release a fashion collection also add to her bottom line. Customers paid $1 billion for subscriptions to the magazine. Despite the downturn in the magazine publishing world, O Magazine is a steady stream of income for Winfrey.
OWN network helps Oprah increase wealth
Oprah launched her own channel in 2011 after ending her talk show. The OWN network became profitable in 2013. In 2017, Discovery Communications paid Oprah’s Harpo productions $70 million to increase its ownership of the channel to 70%. Winfrey touted the deal at the time.
“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and a rapidly growing group of the finest storytellers in film and television, is one of my proudest achievements,” said Winfrey. “I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership. Together, we’ll continue to inspire our viewers with real-life stories that are emotional and entertaining, connecting them to each other and to their greatest potential.”
OWN has become the number one channel for African-American female viewers. Winfrey noted that African American women are part of her loyal audience that made OWN a success.
“Fortunately for me, the African American audience followed me from the ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ so I learned to speak to who was listening, which has been one of my greatest lessons as a programmer for television,” she says.
Weight Watchers investment brings big bucks
Oprah’s investment in Weight Watchers in 2015 has paid off. At the time, her purchase of 6 million shares of Weight Watchers at $6.79 each was worth $43.2 million. She has an 8% stake in the company and recently renewed her partnership with Weight Watchers (now WW).
“I am passionate about WW’s potential to reach and inspire even more people in the years to come,” said Winfrey.
Weight Watchers (now WW) has more subscribers and more revenue since Oprah joined the company’s board of directors. WW shares surged since Oprah joined. A star-studded tour featuring Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama also boosted Weight Watchers and Oprah’s profits. Even though Oprah recently fell during a tour stop, she got back up and persevered. She showed that persistence pays off in making deals and even walking on stage.
Real estate also makes Oprah net worth grow
Oprah’s expansive land adds to her impressive wealth. Oprah’s Montecito, California mansion is a $90 million jaw-dropping piece of land. The 23-room house has a wine cellar, movie theatre, and spacious garden. She also has a beautiful garden on her Hawaii farm. Oprah also owns homes in Colorado, Tennessee, and Illinois. All her homes add to her net worth with a $210 million value.
Oprah’s net worth, charity part of her financial legacy
Though Oprah is one of the richest women in the world, she is also one of the most charitable. She has donated more than $40 million to charities. She also has built schools in South Africa for girls and continues to use her fortune to enrich the lives of others. Oprah’s net worth and her generosity are both enormous.